Product Reviews

A Few of My Favorite Things: GPOTool

Compaq knows a thing or two about troubleshooting large networks. Here are some of the utilities and programs it uses most and likes best for Windows 2000.

GPOTool is a utility available in the Win2K Server and Professional Resource Kits. It's designed to assist with monitoring the consistency of group policy objects (GPOs) within a Win2K domain. The tool is a command line utility that can provide a great deal of information about the current state of GPOs. Typically, this tool can be used to ensure that a GPO is consistent across either the entire domain or a subset of DCs.

You can modify the output from GPOTool in a number of ways, such as restricting the output to a particular GPO, a particular domain or a subset of DCs. Since GPOTool produces an abundance of data, it's usually a good idea to redirect the output to a text file that can then be viewed in detail once the tool's finished. Typically, there are two key pieces of information to check: the list of errors detailed at the start of the output, and the version numbers of the GPO's on the individual DCs.

GPOTool
The result of running GPOTool on this server shows that the SYSVOL version numbers have fallen behind the DS version numbers. In this case, the File Replication Server has probably caused the GPOs to get out of synchronization. (Click image to view larger version.)

GPOTool's only drawback is the structure of the information it provides. It's very easy to end up with pages and pages of information, and extracting the useful parts can be tedious work. However, it's worth spending time familiarizing yourself with the structure as the end results can be invaluable.

About the Author

Robert Grigsby, MCSE, is a Technology Consultant for eApplications Practice, Global Services Organization, Compaq Computer Limited.

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